BATESVILLE, AR — The parents of some East Carter County R-2 students were in Region 8 Wednesday following up on what they say was a hazing incident this summer.
The parent’s say eleven junior high boys were the victims of sexual related hazing while they were at a summer basketball camp at Lyon College in Batesville.
“Six of the boys that came from our school, they were upper classmen. They initiated and hazed and things just got way out of control on the younger classmen,” said parent Tina Wilkins.
The parents say six months after the incident, they want action.
“I think that if they boys that had been violated had been females that it would have already been taken care of, but because it was boys on boys people are trying to downplay it and rule it off as boys being mean or boys being boys,” said Wilkins.
The parents say they don’t feel enough is being done by the court system to punish the six older boys they say assaulted the children.
“They’ve given us several court dates but they keep getting postponed and we’ve been advised not to show up,” said Wilkins.
“We’re not getting any information. We feel like over and over again the officials in Independence County are going out of their way to make this go away,” said parent Kelly Saffle.
“Victims of a crime like this need support and all we’re asking him to do is do his job,” said parent Jeff Stephens.
Region 8 News contacted Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Daniel Brightwell, who the parents of the victims say is handling the case and here’s what he told us:
“The law prevents me from discussing juvenile cases, therefore I can’t comment on this case.”
The parents said every one of the people involved in this case, including the alleged suspects, are juveniles, however their sons need closure to move on.
“We’ve tried to allow the system to work properly. We didn’t want this brought out either because this is going to hurt our boys to keep bringing it up,” said Stephens.
“I want to see the perpetrators punished into some type of counseling,” said Saffle.
Since the incident in June, these parents have banded together. They say regardless of what happens with the criminal case a civil case has been filed to bring what they say happened to their sons to light.
“The whole point is just so it doesn’t have to happen again and nobody’s boys have to go through this again,” said Wilkins.
The parents tell Region 8 News the alleged suspects in the case have been suspended from the school in East Carter County, in Missouri. The school, Lyon College has not been accused of any wrong doing.
Note from moderator: Letter from parent below.
Thank you Hank for the coverage, we appreciate it! I only have a few corrections I would like to make clear – in the last sentence of the story, the news made a mistake in stating that Lyon College has not been accused of any wrongdoing! They have INDEED been accused of wrongdoing…. and have been named in a civil action suit filed by the parents of the victims. I would also like to make clear that we, the parents not only want the perpetrators assigned into some kind of counseling, we also want them to be punished to the full extent of the law for the unspeakable crimes against our boys.
Also, not every perpetrator was a juvenile by Missouri standards, of course these crimes took place in Arkansas, and the age requirements are different there. I know of at least 1 perp that has now turned 18 and COULD HAVE been charged as an adult.
We, as the parents of the victims have never referred to this as just a “hazing” incident….these horrific crimes went way beyond hazing.
Again, we thank you for your continued support and coverage of our story and our journey, we indeed hope and pray that no parent ever has to fight this hard to get the justice their child deserves in a case such as this…it is truly pathetic and a real eye opener to the TRUE workings of the Independence County justice system.